Pattaya hotelier calls for more foreign labor

Sopin Thappajug, MD of the Diana Group said the number of Thai and foreign tourists has increased but there are not enough local workers to handle the tourism resurgence, so foreign workers are needed.

A leading Pattaya hotelier called on the government to increase the number of alien workers to solve the hospitality industry’s labor shortage.

Sopin Thappajug, managing director of the Diana Group, said Jan. 30 that the government’s “We Travel Together” subsidy program increased the number of Thai tourists and the reopening of the country has spurred international arrivals. But there have not been enough workers to handle the tourism resurgence.

She said the new year’s period was particularly difficult and some of her staff worked two months without taking holidays.

Although the Covid-19 crisis that shut down hotels is over, hotel staff that worked prior to the pandemic have not returned, Sopin said. Many got severance pay at the start of the coronavirus crisis and used the money to return home and work in agriculture. They’re happy now and make enough money to survive in the North or Northeast and have no desire to return to the city.

Meanwhile, Sopin said, the younger generation sees hotel work as hard but low-paying. Hotels, however, still haven’t recovered fully from the pandemic and cannot raise wages. So hotels are now looking to recruit retired people to rejoin the workforce.

Sopin said the government should lift limits on the number of migrant workers from neighboring countries and allow Burmese, Cambodians and others to work legally in the country to take hotel jobs Thais clearly don’t want anymore.